Gay rights group hits Boehner for scheduling 'anti-LGBT' speakers on the Hill
November 15th, 2013
04:17 PM ET
9 years ago

Gay rights group hits Boehner for scheduling 'anti-LGBT' speakers on the Hill

Washington (CNN) - Gay rights group Human Rights Campaign is blasting House Speaker John Boehner for scheduling a room on Capitol Hill for a meeting of individuals the organization accuses of supporting Russia's anti-LGBT "propaganda" law.

Speakers from a variety of groups that support things like traditional marriage took part in a symposium on Friday by the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society – a traditional marriage group.

The event was called "Family Policy Lessons from Other Lands: What Should America Learn?"

Human Rights Campaign argued in a statement the event was used "to promote using Russia's anti-gay laws as a model for the U.S."

Boehner's office said in a statement that the scheduling was a routine item and in no way a political move.

"One of the duties of the Speaker's office is scheduling rooms throughout the Capitol complex, and we routinely provide a forum for discussion of public policy issues from across the political spectrum, including for liberal causes," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

"This administrative task obviously does not imply endorsement of any particular point of view."

Reacting to a Buzzfeed article that first reported the event, HRC President Chad Griffin blasted the scheduling.

"Speaker Boehner's embrace of these ambassadors of hate is shameful and despicable," Griffin said in a statement.

"These individuals have supported the subhuman treatment of LGBT people around the world, and now they want to do the same here."

Several of the panelists have travelled to Russia in support of the anti-gay "propaganda" law, HRC charges.

In a release announcing the symposium, the Howard Center laments what it calls persistent attempts by the Obama administration "to redefine marriage and family," and wonders what lessons might be gained from other countries, including the Russian law that makes any Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender "propaganda" illegal.

Gay rights groups say the law is part of a broader crackdown on the country's gay and transgender community.

"Here in America, what can our pro-family legislators learn-positively and negatively-by studying our colleagues' actions abroad?" the Howard Center statement asks.

Howard Center Vice President Larry Jacobs told CNN the group has held events in the Capitol in the past without incident.

Based in Illinois, the organization had originally gone through Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, to schedule a room although neither Kirk nor any member of his staff were scheduled to attend, Jacobs said.

The scheduling "does not imply endorsement," Jacobs said.

Kirk cancelled the reservation at the last minute, prompting the group to reschedule through Boehner's office.

Jacobs rejected the notion that any of the panel speakers advocate for violence or discrimination against the LGBT community.

"We are against violence. All forms of violence," he said.

Jacobs also sought to defend the Russian law itself, arguing that it merely seeks to protect Russian children from pornography of all forms.

Filed under: Gay rights • John Boehner
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. just asking

    gee.... not very tolerant of opposing view points are they? more of the 'tolerant' liberal left trying to jam more down our throats?

    November 15, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Thomas

    The event was called "Family Policy Lessons from Other Lands: What Should America Learn?"

    Why do Republicans hate America ? Why do they follow and not lead . At least recognize that others countries do have quality affordable healthcare .

    November 15, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "And yet these very typical liberal hypocrites are absolutely silent about Alec Baldwins obscene gay bashing?"

    If he did it, he's a pig bigot. I know of not one single liberal who wouldn't agree with that. Alec Baldwin, however, does not hold elected office and did not use that office to provide free public forum for the dissemination of such bigotry. He simply acted like a jackhole on his own time and dime.

    November 15, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner must not have received the RNC memo from Chairman Priebus on the rebranding of the Republican Party to be more inclusive and tolerant.

    November 15, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. just asking

    " more of the 'tolerant' liberal left trying to jam more down our throats?"
    Yeah, god forbid they exercise their freedom of speech. GFY

    but they would deny others their freedom of speech and freedom of association because they do not think as they do. the definition of intolerance.

    November 15, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. MIke in Texas

    Also add that Marco Rubio will be the keynote speaker at the Florida Family Policy Council’s 8th Annual Policy Awards Dinner on Nov. 16. This group is known for promoting anti-gay activities.

    November 15, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |